How Playstation Lost Me this Generation
First off, I would precursor everything I am about to say by admitting I am not 100% sure which direction I'll take in November when the new consoles release. I have always been a Playstation gamer since loading up that first little gray console. The closest I ever got to an Xbox was visiting my buddy Rich's or when my wife, with well intentions, bought me an Xbox 360 for xmas. That console invariably ended up sitting on the shelf collecting dust. I played a few games on it, all of which loaded texture maps slower than my PS3 at the time. I totally understand why Xbox 360 outpaced the PS3 back then, it just was never something that jived for me.
Moving forward in time, the PS4 has been a fantastic console with a bevy of memorable games. Xbox started out behind from the gate and never seemed to catch up this generation. But I noticed something in last few years. It is beginning to matter less and less whether you have a PS or an XBOX. These games are becoming more frequently accessible across multiple platforms. And I own a sick gaming PC I built, so I'm thoroughly covered on that front. Then I own a couple Switches so we have all the access we need to awesome RPGs and Nintendo properties too.
So why the need for a new console? The PS5 and Xbox Series X are going to be performing on par with each other for the most part. They both boast strong hardware specs. I looked across the games they'll be releasing for their systems to see if that would motivate me. Looking at PS5 was like smelling a dead fish in the bottom of the garbage. You want me to pony up $500 for what...Sackboy? Dead Souls? Already played it and could give an absolute toss that it's re-released in HD. Mile Morales looks cool. Oh wait it's just a DLC for the PS4 game...AND you can play it on the PS4 anyhow. So do I bank everything on some vague Godfall game? I have never been as under impressed with Sony.
Okay, so what does Xbox have? Avowed! A game being made by Obsidian, the team behind the original Fallouts, Pillars of Eternity, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic. Shit, this actually looks dope. (yeah I said dope, get over it). Fable? A new Fable? Yaas. Everwild? It's a little less as vague as Godfall yet piques my interest more with its seemingly non-typical promise. So some cool stuff, but enough to buy an Xbox and break my decades long relationship with Sony?
Surely I could play all of these games on the PC when they come out and they will run far better. As I can see it there is no reason to buy one of these new consoles on either side. The case for a $500 drop is weak.
Enter Xbox Game Pass.
I have used PSNow and enjoy streaming games I never would have bought otherwise. The games play great and it's a miniscule cost. So Xbox wants to have an upgraded version of that service where you can play your games across all these other platforms, the console, your PC, android tablets and phones, all at one cost. Um, that's bonkers. What kind of server investment does such an undertaking take? And the day a new game releases they are going to have it available on this platform? Like, day one? Sony is going to be charging $70 for PS5 games, but I can play Xbox games for nothing the day they release?
What the shit Microsoft, that sounds revolutionary. Playstations response is to put 12 PS4 games available on their ever disappointing PS Plus platform. I already own all of them. I feel..let down.
Backwards compatibility? PS5 will commit to 99% of PS4 games. That's promising. Xbox says all of our games, all of them, Xbox, 360, Xbox One, all of them.
Then, this past week, Xbox went and did the unspeakable. They bought ZeniMax studios and everything underneath. So now they own Elder Scrolls, Doom and Fallout. Some of the biggest games in the industry. They can choose to keep those games exclusive to Xbox, giving themselves a killer competitive advantage.
At this point it is not a matter of which console is better. The only question is why the hell would I buy a Playstation 5? What real, logical, reason would there be for me to buy that console? It offers nothing. I feel zero excitement about the promise of a new console. For the first time in my life I will probably wait for both consoles to release and then see what happens. That has always been the more prudent course anyhow and one that, if more of us had taken it in the past, would have been better for the whole of gaming anyhow. (I'm looking at you nightmare bugged releases).
I do not want to turn into some sort of sycophant who only makes decisions based on their team winning. It's exactly what is wrong with politics and has degraded our society and I sure as shit am not going to make that decision based on some entertainment. It feels like buying a PS5 would be exactly that, just sticking to my guns because I'm a PS dude. That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. If the new PS5 does not give me something else worthy to sink my teeth into then I would be an absolute idiot to buy it. And the whole argument for "oh, if xbox does this they'll control all of our games, they'll turn them all into never ending cash grabs," is lame. If you truly believed that and were passionate about it you would work to defund corporate welfare and outlaw/ penalize the massive media monopolies that have arisen. I already am forced to choose the lesser of two evils every presidential election, I am not about to start that nonsense with console purchases.
So I have my PS4, which will play great games including versions of a bunch of the new releases for PS5, I have my Switch for fun times too. I think I am good. I think I'll wait and watch and see what happens. In the meantime I can not see how Microsoft loses this one.